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Species Description

Corn Snake

Elaphe guttata

Species Image


Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae


Sometimes called the Usually 76 - 122 cm (29.9 - 48 in) in total length. The record is 183 cm (72 in). The scales are smooth or weakly keeled.

Life Cycle

Mating occurs from March to May. Eggs are laid in June and July. From 7 - 31 eggs are laid under logs, old sawmill dust piles, or in chambers in the soil. After incubation for about 70 days, the young hatch in August and September. Sexual maturity is reached when a female is at least 68 cm (26.8 in) in snout-vent length. The male is probably somewhat smaller at sexual maturity.

Natural History

The Corn Snake is mainly nocturnal and hides during the day under cover of loose tree bark, in animal burrows, or in old abandoned buildings. The diet of an adult Corn Snake is primarily rodents and other small mammals, but it also includes birds and their eggs. The young Corn Snake will eat lizards, small snakes, frogs, and rodents. Predators of the Corn Snake include foxes, opossums, skunks, bobcats, weasels, and hawks. The Corn Snake is most active from March to November. This species is encountered more frequently in the summer months when it crosses roads at night. It prefers upland open forests of mixed pine and hardwoods, pine flatwoods, and forest edges. The Corn Snake is an able climber and can be found in the rafters or ceilings of abandoned buildings.


Corn Snake Region Map This is a southeastern Rat Snake, ranging from Virginia and Maryland south into Florida, west to Louisiana and Mississippi, and as far north as southern Tennessee. There are isolated populations in Kentucky.

Conservation Status

This is a fairly common snake in the southeastern United States.

Similar Species

The Corn Snake can be distinguished from other Rat Snakes and from Kingsnakes by the stripe extending from the back of its eye past the corner of its jaw, plus the large, bold black and white checkerboard pattern on its belly.